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Tunisian Tennis Player Ons Jabeur is the First Arab Woman to Make Wimbledon’s Last-16

Photo: Instagram / @onsjabeur

Ons Jabeur, the first Arab woman to win a Women’s Tennis Association tournament last month, has made yet another trailblazing accomplishment. With an astonishing 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 Center Court win against 2017 champion and Spanish-Venezuelan player Garbine Muguruza, she has become the first Arab woman to reach the fourth round of the Wimbledon tennis tournament.

“It means a lot. Especially (with) so many Arab people watching me and supporting me. I’ve received a lot of messages from different people. It’s amazing. But I don’t want the journey to stop here. I want to continue,” said Jabeur about her victory.

She added that the match was an emotionally charged one. “You can see me getting angry, smiling, laughing… It’s an honor to always represent Tunisia. Even playing at Wimbledon and other Grand Slams, I feel like I not just play for myself but always play for my country,” she stated.

On June 30, the Tunisian player beat five-time champion Venus Williams 7-5, 6-0 in 80 minutes, reaching the third round of Wimbledon. The ease with which Jabeur romped through the second set against the American player starkly contrasted the tense opening set, which lasted a lengthy 52 minutes.

“I was so nervous, this is the first time I play a legend,” Jabeur said on court after her win against Williams.

41-year-old Williams has a friendly relationship with Jabeur and has practiced with her on multiple occasions, describing Jabeur before the match as one of her “favorite people” on the tennis circuit. On June 29, ahead of their second-round match, Williams said, “Honestly, she’s just breaking down barriers. The first woman from her country to do anything that she’s doing. She just won her first tournament, so she’s got to be feeling great.”

Williams admitted that Jabeur is “inspiring all kinds of women,” herself included.

Ons Jabeur with Venus Williams. Photo: Instagram/@onsjabeur

“The words she said about me, it was unbelievable. It motivated me even more, you know, I always try to inspire other generations. The fact that Venus says that I am doing it and I’m doing a great job at it, encourages me even more to keep doing what I’m doing right now,” said Jabeur in response to William’s praise.

The 26-year-old player, whose brand of tennis combines power with her delicate touch and deft drop shots, has won more matches than anyone else on the women’s tour so far this season, joining Belarusian tennis player Aryna Sabalenka at the top of the scoreboard with 31 victories each and at 21 in the world rankings. This makes her the highest-ranked Arab woman to ever compete in tennis professionally.

Jabeur will try to get to the second Grand Slam quarter-final of her career by competing with 2020 French Open champion Iga Swiatek tomorrow (July 5).

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